Both of Eric Clapton’s Christie's Guitar Auctions featured record-breaking prices for American fretted instruments. The purpose of the auctions was to raise funds for Crossroads Centre at Antigua, which was founded by Eric Clapton in 1997 for the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction.
On 24 June 1999, Eric’s 1957 Fender Stratocaster known as “Brownie” sold for $450,000 (without buyer’s premium). It became the world auction record for a guitar at the time.
In succeeding years, Brownie’s selling price was surpassed by electric guitars previously owned by Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Garcia (The Grateful Dead), respectively and in 2004, Eric's owns guitars in the second auction.
With the second auction on 24 June 2004, several more records were shattered. These auction records were surpassed in later years. At the time, these were the new sales records:
World Auction Record for a guitar
Lot #88 - Fender Composite Stratocaster (circa 1956 and 1957) $959,500(Pre-Sale Estimate: $100,000 - $150,000)
“Blackie” – The guitar most famously associated with Eric Clapton. He has referred to this guitar as being “part of him.” Blackie was practically his sole stage and studio guitar from late 1970 to 1985. Occasionally used in the 1990s.
World auction record for a Martin Guitar
Lot #19 - C.F. Martin & Company Style 000-42 (1939) $791,500
(Pre-Sale Estimate: $60,000 - $80,000
Main instrument used for EC’s MTV Unplugged appearance
World auction record for a Gibson Guitar (and 3rd highest price for a guitar)
Lot #41 - Gibson ES-335 TDC $847,500
(Pre-Sale Estimate: $60,000 - $80,000)
The “Cherry Red” Gibson, owned and used extensively by EC since 1964
Second highest price paid for a Fender Stratocaster
Lot #83 - Fender Composite Stratocaster (circa 1965 & later) $623,500
(Pre-Sale Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000)
“Lenny” - Donated by Jimmie Vaughan from the Estate of Stevie Ray Vaughan – used by SRV throughout his career. This is the only personal guitar of SRV to be released by the Estate into the public domain.